Building Safety Act: Duty holders – your duty holder responsibilities

BSA secondary legislation - a duty of care understanding your competency requirements

The Building Safety Act is the biggest change to building safety in a generation. As a construction leader, you want to be clear about your responsibilities according to the Building Safety Act secondary legislation, to champion best practice in terms of duty holder responsibilities, and ensure all parties throughout your supply chain are similarly committed to fulfilling their obligations.

But with limited time and resources available, it may feel overwhelming trying to get to grips with Building Safety Act duty holders and their responsibilities.

We’re here to help make it clear.

Read on to discover exactly what your duty holder responsibilities are.

Duty holder responsibilities: Everyone

Let’s begin with everyone’s duties. Essentially, the key takeaway here is that all organisations and professionals have a duty of care to evidence their competence both up and down the supply chain.

Any individual carrying out either building or design work must have the necessary:





These can be demonstrated by either gaining professional qualifications, completing accredited training courses and undertaking relevant work experience.

Organisations, meanwhile, must be able to illustrate their organisational capabilities. Read our dedicated blog to find out more about understanding your competency requirements.

But in essence, no matter where in the supply chain you’re operating, you have an obligation to ensure the appropriate arrangements and systems are in place for building and design work, complying with the law.

Duties for all

Planned, managed, monitored

Building work must be planned, managed and monitored to comply with the building regulations

Designed appropriately

If a building is constructed in accordance with a design, it should meet all relevant regulation requirements

Communicate and cooperate

Everyone has a responsibility to share information and support other duty holders in achieving compliance

Duty holder responsibilities: Client

Under the 2010 Building Regulations, a ‘client’ is defined as ‘any person for whom a project is carried out’. Typically, the client will either be the developer or the building owner. The client’s obligations cannot be contracted to a third party.

What are the client’s responsibilities?

  • Make suitable arrangements for planning, managing and monitoring their project. In practice, this means hiring the right people, with the right competencies, making sure reasonable steps have been taken to validate this.
  • If multiple entities are involved on a project, a principal designer and principal contractor must be appointed, ensuring they have the right skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours to fulfil their roles.
  • Provide relevant building information to every contractor and designer involved on a project, as soon as possible.
  • Advise if the work relates to an existing or proposed higher-risk building.
  • If the work relates to a higher-risk building, ask if the firms it plans to appoint as either principal contractor or principal designer have a serious sanction levelled against them in the last five years, and confirm whether the issues raised have been appropriately addressed.

Duty holder responsibilities: Principal contractor

The principal contractor is the contractor appointed to be in control of a project during its construction phase.

What are the principal contractor’s responsibilities?

  • Plan, manage and monitor building work during the construction phase of the project.
  • Coordinate building matters so that the construction work complies with all relevant requirements.
  • Ensure all contractors and any other person involved on the project cooperate with the client, the principal designer, the principal contractor and each other – as well as any successors in a role.
  • Liaise with the principal designer and share all relevant information.
  • Review and regard comments from the principal designer that relate to complying with the relevant requirements.
  • If requested, assist the client in providing information to other designers and contractors.
  • No more than 28 days after the end of their appointment, provide a document explaining how they fulfilled the above duties
  • If a replacement principal contractor is appointed, they must review the previous arrangements to ensure building work complies with regulations

What are the principal designer’s responsibilities?

We’ve created a dedicated blog for the principal designer role, which not only covers its duty holder obligations but its competency requirements too.

Duty holder responsibilities: Contractors or designers

General contractors and designers are those appointed to help deliver the building or design work required on a project.

What are contractors and designers’ responsibilities?

  • To not start building or design work unless satisfied that the client is aware of the duties owed by the client under all relevant requirements.
  • Ensure building or design work complies with all relevant requirements. Contractors must also provide each worker under their control with the appropriate supervision, instructions and information to ensure that all building work undertaken meets the relevant demands.
  • Provide sufficient information about the work to assist the client and other contractors and designers so they can comply with all the relevant requirements.
  • If carrying out only part of the building or design work, they must consider other work that might directly impact the building or design work, and report any concerns to either the principal contractor or principal designer as appropriate.
  • If requested, provide advice to either the principal contractor, principal designer or client on whether any work is higher-risk building work.

How can Constructionline help?

Prior to the Building Safety Act, many parties only assumed responsibilities for the specific aspects of the work they were liable for. Today, everyone in the construction industry has to play their part in heralding a new era of building safety. Understanding your duty holder responsibilities is not only critical for successfully completing projects under this legislation, but bringing about meaningful and long-lasting change to the industry.

Here at Constructionline, we’re committed to helping bridge the gap between regulatory expectations and industry practice, with tools that demonstrate you and your supply chain have the skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours to fulfil your duties.

Adopt a best practice approach to the Building Safety Act’s demands, with tools developed in partnership with industry. From financials to health and safety, prove and manage your network’s compliance with total transparency.

These are three of the latest solutions we offer to help you meet the demands of your duty holder responsibilities.

1.     BSA Assessments

Our two new question sets let you simplify the pre-qualification process. Available for Constructionline Gold and Platinum members, instead of reviewing every suppliers’ answers, you’re only alerted to areas where they do not comply with the Act, with a clear reason why. Depending on your project’s requirements – a higher-risk building or general construction work – you can then make an informed decision about whether a supplier is right for the job.

2.     BSA Radar

Available to all Constructionline members with a paid account, BSA Radar empowers you with real-time insights and facts about your project partners, so you can make decisions fast. Tracking 14 million data points, BSA Radar provides you with a comprehensive overview of a supplier’s compliance status, measured against the requirements of the Building Safety Act. So, whether you’re sourcing trusted new partners or monitoring compliance throughout project lifecycles, you can have every confidence that a firm meets the mark.
3.     Projects feature

Our Projects feature lets you easily monitor and manage the compliance of your entire supply chain. You can see if your contractors are subcontracting work and who to, and get visibility on your entire supply chain’s credentials and compliance, all in one place. Understand the risk profile of your supply chain and assure your client you’ve got the right processes in place for them to meet their duty holder responsibilities.

Take action now

Eager to learn more about duty holder obligations for the Building Safety Act?

Download our white paper on duty holder obligations now.

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